Show What Files Are To Be Installed & Where Files Will Go in Mac OS X

Sep 23, 2011 - 8 Comments

Show Files and Locations of Files to be Installed in Mac OS X

In nearly all Installer and Package apps, you have the option to view exactly what files will be installed and where the installer wants to place them on the Mac. This is an often overlooked feature of the OS X Installer, and it you’ve ever wondered what and where on earth that random .pkg wants to throw its contents, this will show you exactly that.

This is useful for so many scenarios, from knowing what an app is going to do, to troubleshooting, and it works to check where and what is going to be installed or updated in all versions of Mac OS X.

How to See What Files Are Installed & Where in Mac OS X

  1. Launch any Installer application or .pkg in Mac OS X
  2. Before installing anything or running through the update app, hit Command+i or pull down the File menu and choose “Show Files”
  3. Show the files to be installed in OS X

  4. Scroll through the list (it’ll often be very long) and use the arrows to expand folders, or use the search box to look for specific locations

Search files that are going to be installed in Mac OS X

If you’re a cautious individual, this is a great way to discover why exactly an installer wants administrative privileges, but it’s also great if you’re just curious.

Of course the other use for this is to aid in uninstalling Mac apps, which is much easier in Lion thanks to LaunchPad, but for some apps that litter tons of content around your Mac you could use the installer list to track down the pieces left behind.

Enjoy this? Check out more Mac tips and tricks.


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Posted by: William Pearson in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Jerry says:

    The ./ should refer to the current directory inside pkg installer. I still cannot find where these files will go. How do you tell?

  2. […] on with the theme of inspecting the contents of app installers, you can also extract package files and sort through their contents without actually installing […]

  3. Luiz says:

    Hey, how do you get that good-looking menubar?

    Is themePark still alive?


  4. zingo says:

    Just install the “Suspicious Package” QuickLook-Plugin ( and see the contents of a installer and even the included scripts in the Apple way.

  5. David says:

    sweet, now if only the Installer app could be reversed as an UnInstaller heh

  6. Joe Knows says:

    I’ve been using Mac OS since 10.1 and have never known this, great little tip.

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